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Mumming at the American Folklife Center

Every year, in the week before Christmas, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, rhyme, and dance for […]

Songs of the Winter Season Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell

There are many examples of songs of the winter season available among the online presentations from the American Folklife Center’s archive, but the largest group of these is found in California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties, a documentary project of the California Work Projects Administration headed by Sidney Robertson Cowell from 1938 […]

The Life and Times of Boll Weevil

The first time I saw Boll Weevil, He was sitting on a cotton square. The next time I saw Boll Weevil, He had his whole family there. This song about the boll weevil is one of many popularized by Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, Woody Guthrie, and other artists. A version of this most widely known […]

Indigenous American Cylinder Recordings and the American Folklife Center

As November is Native American Heritage Month, it seems a good opportunity to talk about some of the services the American Folklife Center provides for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, and for those who wish to learn more about them. The archival collections of the Library of Congress include the largest body of […]

Michigan-I-O: Alan Lomax and the 1938 Library of Congress Folk-Song Expedition

The following is a guest post by Aimee Hess, Library of Congress Publishing Office, and Todd Harvey, American Folklife Center. The American Folklife Center, in collaboration with the Library of Congress Publishing Office, has recently published Michigan-I-O: Alan Lomax and the 1938 Library of Congress Folk-Song Expedition, a digital publication containing text, images, music, and […]